Ever watched a 6-year-old who wants some money from Mom or Dad? When they get that money, something magical happens: they suddenly become “in charge” of something and feel empowered simply by having that money. It’s not so different for adults.
There is an often misquoted Scripture that discusses money’s role in the World: “Money is the root of all evil.” Of course that is an incorrect quote that should read, “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.” Where else on Earth is that Scripture proven more true than in American politics and all that surrounds operations in political Washington?
The obvious trappings of quid pro quo are one thing. But the most devastating and consuming role the love of money in politics plays is in the ancillary industries that support government political operations: campaigning, lobbying, consulting, and even media. Each of these mentioned political operations sectors brings with it its own unique quest for money. And in D.C., the trappings of the free-flowing political dollars have for decades fed the ravenous hunger for bucks. That hunger has fueled almost all of Washington’s corruption. What’s the old saying? “Follow the money.” Nowhere else is that more true than in D.C.
Lobbyists are embedded in dozens of massive law and public relations firms that headquarter around the corner from the Capitol on K Street. These firms represent clients of all kinds: major corporations, non-profits, associations who represent companies and organizations who have stakes in legislation of all kinds, and even political campaigns and political parties. These special interests pay millions to these lobbying firms to “impact” the particular pieces of legislation that benefits them. Most of those funds find their ways into the pockets of members of Congress, often paid through junkets, scholarships awarded to a special few by Congressional members, jobs for various people, campaign contributions, and even real estate and elaborate vacations that often include use of private jets. And the list goes on and on.
PAC’S in the United States, a political action committee (PAC), is a type of organization that pools campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaign for or against candidates, ballot initiatives, or legislation. The legal term PAC has been created in pursuit of campaign finance reform in the United States. This term is quite specific to all activities of campaign finance in the United States. PAC’s were created to bypass campaign contribution laws, primarily the maximum amounts that individuals and/or corporations can donate to candidates. The legislation that created PAC’s changed all that. Here are PAC regulations:
- Contributions to campaigns from corporate or labor union treasuries are illegal, though they may sponsor a PAC and provide financial support for its administration and fundraising;
- Union-affiliated PAC’s may only solicit contributions from members;
- Independent PAC’s may solicit contributions from the general public and must pay their own costs from those funds.
Here are the REAL reasons for PAC’s and why they are so popular in D.C.
Federal multi-candidate PACs may contribute to candidates as follows:
- $5,000 to a candidate or candidate committee for each election (primary and general elections count as separate elections);
- $15,000 to a political party per year; and
- $5,000 to another PAC per year.
- PACs may make unlimited expenditures independently of a candidate or political party.
Campaigns especially on the national level have become legal money-launderers — well, not really. But it certainly seems that is so. It’s expensive to run a campaign. Seldom does a candidate have all the necessary funds to run a campaign — or at least funds sufficient to WIN a campaign, which is all that matters. And it seems they never stop campaigning.
Yesterday the Congressional special election for the 18th District in Pennsylvania was held. It is still not final, even though all the votes have been counted. It’s being contested. One would think campaigning was over. Not so. I received an email solicitation from one of the candidates begging for a $50 contribution to underwrite what is certain to be a very expensive recount effort. No telling how long that will take or how expensive it will be.
Media at the national level are money machines — especially during a political season. They foam at the mouth in anticipation of elections. Why? Political ads and all the extra revenue those ads bring. Billions of dollars are spent advertising in national elections every other year. Media budgets are set years in advance that rely heavily on campaign season revenues.
Additionally, FOX News showed network stations that there is a bunch of money that is NOT tied directly to elections. Having news talk all day long that centers on political events is as big or bigger a money-pot as election advertising. MSNBC, CNN, CNBC have all caught on. They all try to imitate FOX News with their programming, but with opposite perspectives. None even approach FOX News financial success. But being second and third is still financially rewarding. There’s a lot of money tied to D.C. And it’s not just for politicians.
Americans need to begin to objectively examine not just the methodology of operations in Washington, but to question the motives of everyone directly and indirectly affiliated with the political process. Cuba Gooding, Jr. said it best in the movie Jerry MacGuire when he said again and again, “Show Me the Money!”
The new slant that targets dollars in D.C. is simply to find power — political power. With political power and might the person(s) who control that power control most of or all of the process, including the money. Congress functions totally from that basic perspective, working diligently to appease voting constituency by time-to-time passing (or attempting to pass) legislation voters desire. But lawmakers make a bunch of noise about their efforts to do so, but seldom pass meaningful legislation that structurally changes America. Why is that? They cannot afford to rock the horse. They know “the other side” will eventually gain control of the House and Senate. No one in Congress wants to find themselves in such disfavor with members of the other party when control changes. They all want to maintain an even keel. That’s so they can maintain position, importance, and fat cat jobs with all the perks: MONEY!